Terrace enclosures; Helpful Types and Tips - Green Ecologist

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Enclosures on terraces and balconies

For the lack of spaces in the house or for a better use, the terrace enclosure or balconies is an always interesting alternative in order to expand the useful space of the house and that of course can bring us some substantial benefits.

From the functional point of view it is appropriate to be able to add meters to the house, but before facing the reform it is better to analyze in depth if it is worth it, taking into account that the enclosures are generally expensive, so an evaluation of different must be made aspects and even the possible price - benefits or advantages when closing a terrace at home, as well as some negatives that we should be aware of.

Apart from the utility, let us remember that a final result of comfort is sought for the home where different aspects will enter into the enclosure of terraces such as: Trying to maintain an adequate temperature, use and determine the most suitable materials, the distribution of light, works … etc.

Types of terrace enclosures

Although technology offers us new materials every day or actually the enclosure of a structure They can be combined with any type of traditional joinery that is carried out on construction sites. In a generic way we can define what types of enclosures are there for terracesthat allow adapting:

  • Enclosure with sliding window (Of sliding leaves). It is based on PVC or metal carpentry where the window is divided into leaves that go from 2 to 6, allowing a partial opening that amounts to 80%.
  • Enclosure with folding window (Of folding sheets). It allows a total or partial opening by means of the legacy of the glass sheets of the carpentry.
  • Half height enclosure. It is usually used more in high-rise homes to close balconies. The carpentry rests on a wall that is generally masonry.
  • Enclosure with glass curtains. They are sheets of glass joined together on the side, where most pieces only have a frame on their upper and lower face.
  • Enclosure with fixed and mobile roofs. They are usually made of glass or polycarbonate and are usually self-supporting. They offer multiple possibilities, from motorized covers to manual covers, with different types of drives and openings.

The perfect temperature when closing a terrace

Obviously we don't want to be too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. Here come into play a series of aspects to avoid such as air leaks, avoid thermal losses at all costs, control the entry of sun rays … etc, which will depend on the type ofcarpentry that we use when covering a terrace.

These are aspects that have a great influence on the type of enclosure - carpentry that we are going to install on the terrace and that of course will also affect our electricity bill.

The following figure shows the difference between optimal and ideal thermal insulation:

What is better the aluminum or PVC enclosure in terraces

Leaving aside the wood or plastic, the reason why a outdoor enclosure It is precisely because of the materials used in the execution.

Aluminum and PVC in carpentry are the most used when we close a balcony, solarium, gazes or garden terrace. They are suitable especially taking into account the Technical Building Code, which is very restrictive, because they are good thermal and acoustic insulators, not counting the maintenance that is more economical.

This is where the glass of the frame comes into play, which, working together, will be responsible for providing what you read for the benefit of comfort and well-being. So the insulation capacity that we can get on the terrace will be given by the following formula:

The factors that influence energy savings in the carpentry of a terrace When dealing with aluminum or PVC enclosures according to the frame that will determine the insulation of the window and that we must consider are:

  • Profile material: For example, in PVC carpentry the thermal bridges are minimal or nonexistent.
  • The level of tightness: A window that has an adequate level of airtightness will guarantee good thermal insulation.
  • The quality of the crystal: The right glazing comes into play here, which will favor important benefits, solar captures or long-term energy savings, among other issues that we will analyze later.

Sometimes, we only think of a good profile but glass influences a lot, be it a balcony, patio, roof, etc. It allows us to increase the thermal resistance offered by the window, in addition to increasing its acoustic insulation. In a home, since the most important thing is to conserve heat (in most climates), the lower the thermal transmittance of the window, the better.

Below are some of the interventions that provide improvements in thermal performance on houses:

PVC is slightly more expensive than aluminum to install in the home. The latter are more versatile in terms of colors compared to PVC. The aluminum enclosure allows narrower profiles than PVC so there is a greater gain in natural light.

We also have to take into account the location, it is not the same a closing in Madrid which is colder than in coastal areas such as Valencia or warmer such as Seville. As a rule, the colder it is, the more we will have to spend on carpentry and insulation, so the budget to close a terrace it will rise by increasing the price of the project to be contracted.

You can do the reform of the wooden enclosure

As for wood, they are made, but on a much smaller scale because it becomes more expensive for the home. To begin with, they have to be high-quality woods, to which are added the treatments that must be done to resist the elements.

This can raise costs up to 40% compared to the solutions outlined above. Undoubtedly, wood is a noble and warm material, that both PVC and aluminum cannot boast.

The wooden enclosures for exteriors are usually delegated more to pergolas structures for an improvement in aesthetics. We have a comprehensive article on wooden porches and pergolas in gardens that will come in handy.

One solution that can be chosen is to do a aluminum cladding towards the outside and wood towards the inside with which the advantages of warmth of wood and resistance to the outside of aluminum are achieved.

Tips for closing a terrace

You have to remember some aspects when it comes to knowing how to close a terrace small or large, even if it is practicing it yourself at home, with professionals or in a more expensive or cheap way.

Previously we have already seen the more technical aspects from the perspective of carpentry, now it is time to emphasize some ideas and tips before closing a balcony or terrace that we should not forget:

The works in the enclosures

I think it is not necessary to remember that whenever we go to practice a work on a terrace or balcony, we will have to request the pertinent licenses and permits from the administration. I can assure you that if everything is legal, you will sleep peacefully. Complaints are not cheap and in the end the little work could turn into a pretty big headache, watch out!

The documentation to present for the works permit on terraces in a home it depends on the type of work intended (the installation of a pergola is not the same as completely covering a terrace by means of work) so for a greater concreteness it is necessary to consult the municipal technical services.

In homes that are in buildings with several neighbors, first we should ask the community for permission to undertake the works and remember, ask if there are technical specifications when closing the balcony. In many cases, the color of the carpentry, the color of the awnings, etc. is assigned so that they are in coherence with the facade of the building.

Sometimes we forget that when we execute the work of a terrace There may be elements that obstruct a ventilation or air conditioning installation, drains, electricity installations or even some water pipes.

One piece of advice, the subject of how to close a terrace economically And with cheap materials, in the end, it will be a waste of money in the long run. It is worth it, waiting and having an adequate budget.

The orientation of the enclosure

This circumstance will harm or benefit us depending on the orientation, that is, the South orientation is perfect for winter (we are talking about Spain), we have a greater accumulation of natural heat but in summer it is possible that the terrace resembles a greenhouse. The North layout is much colder (We are talking about Spain) where we should use stronger insulating systems and more suitable materials.

Orientation scheme and its energy cost (For Spain):

Let us remember that with more sun in winters, less electricity costs and even, we can cover the patio or outdoor space with a slightly cheaper installation without opting for the "top" in insulation.

The light on the terrace

Obviously we all want a gazebo, a good balcony, or a terrace that are adequately insulated but let a lot of light come in. Not only should we take into account glazing issues with the different types of glass used in windows due to the entry of light, there are other aspects to consider.

The terrace deck It is the part that is most exposed to the elements and to light rays. Beware of glazed enclosures on deckKeep in mind that we should protect ourselves with curtains or blinds that should be of neutral colors to prevent a change in the ambient color.

In the side enclosures glass curtains can be used for the best light entry.

Connect spaces

In the end, we practice expanding a home to also have more space, so the separation between the home and the new enclosure of the terrace It should be practiced with large windows for a better entry of light or few elements that impede access.

Obviously the decoration must also be in accordance if we want to create spaces with harmony when We cover a sunny spot to isolate it from inclement weather. So that the space that is added to the house after the reform does not remain as a filling, it is important that the decoration of this is a whole with the rest of the house.

The carpentry is the first thing that must be well incorporated into the decoration of the house. If the interior doors are made of wood, the ideal would be that, at least, inside the enclosure it is also.

When doing a reform it is possible that the floor may not be the same as the one in the rest of the room. In this case, it can be hidden, for example, with rugs or mats, and even with wood that always works well and provides warmth.

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